On Saturday, Sept. 16, five young men professed perpetual vows with the Society of the Divine Word at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Techny, Ill.
John Nkum, 32, grew up in Accra, Ghana. John earned a degree in agricultural engineering before entering the Society of the Divine Word in 2017. He professed first vows in 2018 in Nkwatia, Ghana, and arrived in the United States to continue studies in August of 2018. John, who fulfilled his Cross-Cultural Training Program (CTP) in San Diego, graduated Catholic Theological Union in Chicago last spring.
One of seven children, Roger Kyaw Thu, 31, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Loikaw University in Loikaw, Kayah State, Myanmar. He came to the United States in 2014 and graduated from Divine Word College in Epworth in 2018. Roger professed first vows in 2019. Roger fulfilled his CTP in the Appalachia District of the Chicago Province.
Zachary Smith, 31, grew up in Oak Park, a suburb of Detroit. Before joining the Society of the Divine Word, he received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied microbiology. In 2012, he joined the Society of the Divine Word and transferred to Divine Word College. Zachary professed first vows at Techny in 2016 and fulfilled his CTP in Japan.
Like Roger, Boromeo Shwe Pyi Soe, 29, grew up in Myanmar. He has six older sisters and one younger brother. Boromeo holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Loikaw University in Loikaw, Kayah State, Myanmar. He arrived in the United States in 2014 and professed first vows with the Society of the Divine Word in 2019. He fulfilled his CTP within the Chicago Province at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Wheeling, Ill.
The fifth member who professed perpetual vows wishes to remain anonymous because of lack of religious freedom in his home country. All five men will be ordained as transitional deacons on Oct. 1 and will be ordained to the priesthood in May. They have received their first assignments. John will serve the Society of the Divine Word’s Botswana Province. Roger will go to the Australia Province. Zachary will serve in the Japan Province. Boromeo is assigned to the Chicago Province.